The Merseyside Derby is always a tense affair. Throw out the records, throw out the form, these matches are known for chaos. And chaos is exactly what Everton looked to sow, spending most of the first half trying to wind up the Liverpool players with dives, late fouls, and time-wasting antics. The Reds went into half time visibly frustrated, but come out refocused.
A couple of substitutions, including Everton’s worst nightmare Divock Origi, really turned the tide into Liverpool’s favor. A slick touch from Origi set up an assist from Mohamed Salah to be headed in by Andrew Robertson, and then Origi and fellow substitute Luis Diaz combined for the second goal. In the end, Liverpool were the deserved winners, keeping pace with Manchester City at the top of the table and keeping the hope for the quadruple alive. Everton, for their part, are now fully in the relegation zone.
Let’s take a look at some of the winners, losers, and other narratives around the game.
The Scottish left back was a force the entire game. With Everton looking to smother the middle of the pitch in the first half, Robertson did well serving as a wide option, providing a few enticing crosses in. He snuck in to the back post to open the scoring with a rare goal, nodding the ball past Jordan Pickford. He also had a hug clearance ahead of Alex Iwobi late in the game to preserve the clean sheet.
Does anyone have more of an impact on the psyche of an Everton fan the Divock Origi? He was sensational against the local rivals yet again when he came off the bench, showing good hold up play and anticipation. His deft flick back to Mohamed Salah set up the first goal, and he got to the spot ahead of the defenders to head home the second goal. That was the sixth goal Origi has scored against Everton. This is likely the last time Origi will suit up against Everton as a Liverpool player, and what a way to go out.
6 - Divock Origi has scored six goals against Everton in all competitions for Liverpool, which is twice as many goals as he's scored against any other side for the Reds. Inevitable. pic.twitter.com/swyFf6ckOO— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 24, 2022
The other two substitutes, Luis Diaz and Jordan Henderson, combined to set up the Origi goal. Henderson floated the ball to the back post where Diaz showed phenomenal athleticism and body control to contort his body to hit a flying scissor kick.
Besides the goal, Diaz showed up everywhere on the pitch after entering the fray. His speed and technical skill, coupled with his work rate, was a nightmare for Everton to deal with.
Henderson also put in an energetic display, albeit in a shorter stint. He led some good high presses during his time on the pitch, and got stuck in against Richarlison.
The lanky defender showed up several times to thwart Everton counters, showing great positioning and poise to head off attacks and poke the ball away from players all too happy to fall over in the box. He finished the day with 6 tackles, 2 clearances, and 2 blocked shots. He also carried the ball into dangerous areas in the attack as Everton defenders looked to clog passing lanes.
Matip's actions map v Everton. Look at those ball carries pic.twitter.com/2VSoJQJL37— Alfred (@CallmeAlfredo) April 24, 2022
Liverpool’s shot stopper didn’t have a whole lot to do on the day, but he gets a nod for this wonderful bit of bantz, mimicking Jordan Pickford’s time-wasting efforts of the first half after making an easy save with no one around.
Starting the day in the relegation zone, they looked to make the game chippy and break up the rhythm of the game like many bottom sides. They conceded the majority of the possession, only being on the ball for 17% of the game, completing a paltry 94 passes for the entire game. Their entire game plan seemed to be kick it long and hope Anthony Gordon or Richarlison could make a convincing enough dive to earn a penalty or get a Liverpool player sent off. It didn’t work. Now Everton will finish the weekend deservedly in the relegation zone.
From The Manager
“He’s a legend on and off the pitch, I have to say. That’s how it is. He is a fantastic footballer, for me, and I know that sounds ridiculous because I don’t line him up often.”
-Jürgen Klopp speaking of Divock Origi
What Happens Next
After a week of derbies, Liverpool jump right back into the Champions League semifinals. They will host Villarreal on Wednesday in the first leg before a quick turnaround to take on an in-form sportswashing side Newcastle next Saturday.